Ports-and-rail-freight operator Asciano Group says it hopes to announce the sale of all or part of its business by the end of June, after responding to a query from the stock exchange.
The company reiterated it had received a number of non-binding indicative proposals relating to a change of control or its recapitalisation.
It added on Monday that it was continuing discussions with four potential bidders who were conducting due diligence.
Melbourne-based Asciano was also talking to parties who had lodged proposals that would involve one or more of the company’s business units.
“Asciano continues to target the announcement of one or more transactions by the end of the current financial year,” the company said.
“It should not be assumed that any of these discussions will result in a transaction or that if a change of control and/or recapitalisation transaction were to occur that it would be priced at a premium to recently traded prices in Asciano’s securities.”
Asciano made the statement after the Australian Securities Exchange issued a query, after stapled securities in the company jumped 27 per cent to $1.81 last Friday amid trading volumes that were much higher than normal.
Shares in Asciano fell 10 cents, or 5.51 per cent, to $1.71 as of 1003 AEST on Monday.
Asciano said it could not announce details of any of the offers at this stage because they were confidential, non-binding and insufficiently definite to disclose.
Each of the four bidders was participating in the second stage of due diligence.
Asciano also said reports that there were only two serious parties who had tabled recapitalisation proposals were incorrect.
The company said other incorrect reports asserted Asciano’s banking syndicate were seeking a two-month maximum extension to the working-capital facility and that some members of the syndicate were treating Asciano as a workout situation.
Asciano also said it still expected 2008/09 full-year earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation to be higher than the year before.
The company expects to incur further restructuring costs during the second half as it implements the findings of a efficiency review. Asciano said it wasn’t expecting any other abnormal costs.
Asciano incurred $97.5 million of costs, mainly related to asset value impairments.